Going to the Punahou Carnival is a family tradition that is actually the fulfillment of multiple traditions, my favorite of which is Lynnette’s rationalization of paying for parking at Maryknoll and calling it her yearly donation to her alma mater. We got to campus at 3:30 in the afternoon and it was perfect. No serious lines for anything, a decent breeze, and no serious lines for anything. While there wasn’t much in the way of new rides or games for Madison, she did learn a few new things.
Lynnette handed Madison a sheet of 10 ride tickets. “I want to ride this,” Madison said. We got in line for a small-ish roller coaster which featured individual rotating cars. After a few minutes, Lynnette told me to check if she was big enough to ride it. We went to the front of the ride and learned that Madison was tall enough to ride it, but she would not be able to do so alone. “I want you to come with me,” she said to Lynnette. “I’m not going with you, Dad is,” Lynnette said. That’s when Lynnette and I gave Mad her first lesson in economics.
“This ride costs 3 tickets,” I said. I covered three of the tickets with my fingers. “But since you can’t ride it alone, I have to go with you, too. So how much is it going to cost?” “Six,” she said. “So how many are you going to have left to ride?” Lynnette asked. “Four,” she said. We let the Mad’s answer hang in the air. I fought hard against the urge to say something about opportunity cost. “I don’t want to do this,” she said. We got out of line. We walked over to the kid rides which cost only 2 scrips each. “If you go by yourself, you can go on 5 rides,” Lynnette said. “OK,” Madison said, and for the first time, she stood in all the lines by herself.
After the rides we strolled toward the upper part of the campus to find the koi and turtle pond. There were two other girls already in the area fearlessly climbing the rock wall adjacent to the pond. When they cleared out, Madison quickly took there place. Lynnette made several ambiguous noises which I interpreted as concern. I allowed Mad to stand scale the rocks long enough to snap a few pictures, including this one, which makes my heart want to explode.
Madison really enjoyed enticing the turtles to the edge of the water. I guess the turtles are fed on a pretty regular basis because as soon as the three of us knelt next to the water, a handful of them swam up to us and popped up out of the water. From that point, Madison took unequivocal glee in trolling the disappointed turtles. Lynnette and I took unequivocal glee in the shaded resting spot. Can’t you tell from the looks on our faces?
OK, but obviously, the most important – and my favorite – tradition tied to the Punahou Carnival is the food. We planned to end our trip with a stretch at the kids’s games, but first we refueled in our a solid snacking spot. There’s a patch of grass that’s under the shade of a large tree right in front of the Amazing Maze. Lynnette, Madison, and I found some free curb and went right to it. We picked up fried noodles, burgers, and gyros primarily because Lynnette likes her options, and in situations like this, she likes a little bit of everything. If you’re like me and you just want a lot of the same food you really like, then you wonder what kind of person orders “samplers” at restaurants. Well, I used to wonder about that too, until I met my wife.
Lynnette’s ambivalence manifested itself when she realized she was going to have a difficult time getting taco salad in addition to all of the stuff we’d already purchased. We watched a woman carry a tray of the taco salad by, and Lynnette made a noise that can best be described as a cross between sexual arousal and the yelp made by a puppy tangled in a ball of yarn under a comforter. “You know what your problem is?” I said to Lynnette. “What’s that?” she said. “You don’t have enough stomach,” I said. She must have thought I was teasing her about her weight at first because there was a mini-death glare warming up in her eyes. Then, she caught on to what I meant. “This is true,” she said. “Too true.”